Beyonce Homecoming and Taylor Swift Outgoing

Beyonce has been in the entertainment industry for over 23 years and as she evolves she is able to represent black culture to her hearts content. Previously in media, black women are forced to conform to a Eurocentric view of beauty to obtain publicity and fame. In todays society, the celebration of melanin is being popularized and black culture is joyfully being celebrated and sadly being appropriated. Beyonce is the first black woman to headline Coachella, and she is also one of the first people to negotiate all rights to her performance. After doing this, she was able to upload her recreation of an HBCU band performance to Netflix and showcase beautiful black art forms. Soon after Taylor Swift performed an exact replica of Beyonce’s performance. How do you guys feel about Taylor Swift copying Beyonce’s ode to black youth culture?

3 Replies to “Beyonce Homecoming and Taylor Swift Outgoing”

  1. So I’m going to start this reply with just stating that I am not a fan of Taylor’s at all. I think she’s highly problematic and that this incident allows us to go back and remind ourselves why. I say this because, in fairness to her, there have been a number of other white musical artists that have used the marching band and drumline aesthetics in their performances and music videos, such as Madonna and Gwen Stefani. Additionally, this isn’t the first time Taylor has used the marching band motif in her performance or music videos either, as she actually did both back in 2009. So while I still firmly take issue with her as an artist, I think this specific incident can be chalked up to poor timing or generally bad taste. However, let us not excuse or forget Taylor’s history with black women in the music industry. While the questions surrounding Taylor’s hijacking of Beyonce’s phenomenal performance certainly brings up the issue of cultural appropriation in the music industry, particularly white artists being able to profit off of the themes and styles of their black counterparts, my issue with Taylor is really rooted in her treatment of black women. For the sake of not writing an entire novel, I’ll only talk about one case and attach a link for the second one. My main issue with Taylor Swift is that while she brands herself as a feminist, she has not done the work to include women who do not look like she does. A key example of this can be found in her music video for “Shake It Off.” In the video, while includes some women of color, the majority of them are shown during a segment when they’re twerking. During that segment, as the black women dance, Taylor looks utterly fascinated and in awe as she gapes at the Black women twerking. The crazy part about this sequence is that you see more of the black women’s butts than you do their faces. While some may claim Taylor did this as an attempt to celebrate black women’s sexuality, it’s hard to ignore the narrative of white people using blackness as a commodity to boost their sales within the industry, particularly white women. Interestingly enough, this was the only scene in the music video where black women were predominately featured. The opening shot of the music video is on a bunch of ballerinas, but one can’t help but notice they’re all white. So to wrap up, I’m not completely sure if Taylor was copying Beyonce. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t? The bottom line is that her type of feminism represents a narrow, singular type that excludes black women and women of color. She has a notorious track record of this, and even if she didn’t copy Beyonce’s performance per se, I’m glad we can use this moment as a chance to remind ourselves of why she is problematic.

    Additionally, here is a link which covers T swifts beef with Nicki Minaj:

  2. After seeing Taylor Swift performance, the phrase ” Everybody wants to be Black, but no one wants to be Black” popped up in my head. Yes there are issues of racism everywhere, theres just no way to avoid it. But you have to think back to the “risky” performance that BeyoncĂ© did for a half-time performance one year. Everyone was criticizing her for the way we carried herself and the things that she sung about because it was all truth. This time it’s different, I guess, because it looked cool. This also takes me to different points about how white women usually steal a lot of ideas, and looks from Black women and put their unseasoned spice on things. But that’s another topic for another day.

  3. I watched Taylor Swift’s performance at the Billboard awards and I was disappointed. I didn’t realize the similarities until I saw them side by side. Beyonce did her performance purposefully as an homage to HBCUs and their band culture. Taylor’s performance reminded me of Big Mama Thornton’s Jail House Rock compared to Elvis Presley’s which he still gets credited for today. There have been many instances throughout history where black music, dance, and/or culture would be stolen and made a profit off of instead of the initial artists. I find it atrocious and disgraceful especially since the band was terrible, rhythmless, and just straight up boring. I am not a Bey Hive but I found it disrespectful to her work, mind you, she didn’t create that music but Taylor copied her style and performance to an exact science in some points.

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